PK-12 Budgeting - SMARTER Goal Example

Example of SMARTER Goals

The following provides an example of how the concepts described in Best Practice in School Budgeting 2A - Developing Goals could be applied, using the experience of Lake County School District (LCS), Florida. The example is only intended to enhance the reader’s understanding of the Best Practice concepts and is not intended to dictate a particular format or method. Rather, a district’s management should use their judgment and experience to decide how to most effectively apply these concepts in their district.

GFOA has modified LCS’ presentation. Most notably, parentheticals have been added to note how each component of LCS’ presentation complies with the SMARTER goal framework. The presentation also combines the concept of goals with the concept of Instructional Priorities (see Best Practice in School Budgeting, 2C – Research & Develop Potential Instructional Priorities). This illustrates, that in practical application, multiple concepts from the Best Practices in School Budgeting can be combined into one presentation.

As a reference the SMARTER goal fromework is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
  • Engaging
  • Resourced

Download a basic worksheet to help evaluate your district's goals

Lake County School District, Florida's Example Goal

Major Goal: Immediate Investment in Struggling Students

Sub-Goal: ELL Students. Fund programs aimed at closing the achievement gap of English Language Learner (ELL) students.  (Specific: The sub-goal adds precision to the broader major goal).

What is the need? LCS spends less in additional funding on ELL students than the median of comparison districts. Additionally the LCS ELL population is growing steadily as the student achievement rates continue to be low (Relevant: This describes why this goal matters)

What will the district do?  (Specific and Achievable: More precise actions better define the goal and demonstrate that there is a clear path to follow to achieve it)

  • Determine programming for this Instructional Priority through the program evaluation and innovation process.
  • Compare and contrast various programming options, evaluating these on the basis of cost and projected academic return on investment in terms of student achievement.
  • With this comparison in hand, select the specific investment or combination of investments that will support the largest achievement gains for our students.

What will it Cost? (Resourced: Cost is estimated and the planning and budgeting process is used to develop more precise budgets and determine how these costs will be funded)

What gains does the district expect? (Measureable, Time-bound, and Engaging: Targets are identified for future years along with historical data for three prior years. The targeted level of improvement is substantial)